Elly De La Cruz, the Cincinnati Reds top prospect that’s beginning the season in the minor leagues (and the #4 overall prospect in the organization), and on Thursday he spoke with the media in Dayton with bench coach Juan Samuel working as the translator.
It’s been a heck of a calendar year for Elly De La Cruz. At this point in 2021 he was completely off of the radar within the Cincinnati Reds farm system. Like just about every professional baseball player he had missed out on the 2020 minor league season. And back in 2019 he had a solid, but unspectacular season in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .285/.351/.382 as a 17-year-old who was listed at 6′ 2″ and 150 lbs.
Fast forward to today and he’s a 6′ 5″ and 208 lb. prospect who is on the radar of everyone. Starting in the Arizona Complex League, Elly De La Cruz made a mockery of the league, hitting .400/.455/.780 through the first two weeks and was promoted to Low-A Daytona where he finished out the final two months of the year. In his 61 games between the two stops he hit .296/.336/.539 with 18 doubles, 9 triples, 8 home runs, and he stole 10 bases. And all of that came along with him showing off some of the most explosive tools in all of minor league baseball.
His production combined with the tools he showed vaulted him from just about unknown in the organization to being one of the Top 100 prospects in all of baseball in less than a year. Not invited to big league camp, he was impressing on the backfields in minor league camp and got brought over to participate in a few big league games. He made a nearly immediate impact, crushing a grand slam off of big league reliever Brad Boxberger – a roughly 430-foot home run to center field that sounded like it was shot out of a cannon.
The Reds have been aggressive with his promotions. He played in 11 games in Arizona last year before being promoted. He then only played in 50 games with Daytona last year before the season came to an end and that was enough to push him up another level. It will be interesting to see how his plate discipline goes at yet another higher level. He’s been an aggressive hitter in the past, but speaking with people who were in Goodyear and saw him play this spring word was that he was looking better on that front.